Plans put forth by Republicans like Rep. Doug Lamborn to eliminate all funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting reveal a basic lack of understanding when considering the value of arts, education, and public discourse for our society.
And the cost currently of funding - some $420 million - is just a bit more than one dollar per year from every American. That's too much to help produce and promote the arts in America? Too much to promote educational programming for children? Too much to provide public debate on the issues of our nation?
What a shame to see so little vision from our leaders.
While I'm sure public broadcasting will endure - thanks to the millions and millions of Americans and tens of thousands of businesses who give financial support to the CPB - this loss of valuing arts, education and much more has a crushing impact on our society.
Beyond the truly meaningless "savings" the Republicans proclaim, what lies at the root of the issue is a cultural emptiness among our leaders in government - to no longer place value on any of the arts - music, film, dance, theatre - and no value on the promotion of literacy for children.
An individual won't get rich on tax dollars working in public broadcasting - but they can enrich the spirit of our nation and our creativity, which seeks something other than celebrity, fame or high profit returns. Explorations of our world and ourselves which are limited to whatever the market allows will present a most hollow, shallow culture.
States, cities and county governments could easily fall into this abrupt dismissal of valuing arts and education, which is barely acknowledged even now. Perhaps even at the best, government funding has only been a token, but there is an acknowledged value - without that, many generations to come will also fail to grasp the importance of arts, education and a richly diverse cultural world.
Such rejection will not eliminate the human desire for more than tangible, bankable products. It will simply mean that America will abdicate being a leader, making us a distant follower, as we are today in science and math.
Sadly, we'll likely see Tennessee's congressional delegation embrace this dumbing down of our culture in hopes of being re-elected. What a high price for their power.